For some reason, I had my cell phone turned off all day yesterday. I don't think I even realized it until 8pm when I went to check it. So when I turned it on I saw there was a new voicemail. Thinking it must have been my mom (who is the only one usually calling me on a sunday) I quickly checked it. When I heard her voice I nearly dropped the phone. It was my dad's wife sounding uncomfortable and a little crazy asking me to call her at work in the morning. Saying that my dad was getting "bad" wondering what the hell that meant other than "not good". There were specific instructions to not call the house, just call on her cell. She and I hadn't spoken in months, not since my dad was in the hospital last spring for pancreatic cancer surgery. And prior to that we hadn't spoken in nearly 5 years. So here she was and I knew it couldn't be good. I tried not to worry but my anxiety had already been heightened by the fact that my dad hadn't responded to 2 emails I had written in the past 2 weeks. And now her.
Lou asked me if I was going to call and I said I wanted to wait till the morning as specifically instructed. And I wanted to just try and soak in the rest of our wonderful weekend.
This morning Lou got up at his usual 4:30am for work. When he left at 5 I for some reason decided to get up which NEVER happens! I wondered why. Already feeling uneasy for my upcoming phone call I tried to keep myself busy. There I was sitting on the couch with my laptop burning a hole in thighs when I heard the phone ring at 6:30. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. I ran to the phone, tripping over my pug on the way, grabbed it and heard her voice on the other end.
"I know you don't want to talk to me, but I left the message yesterday because he had been getting bad. Not talking so much, and I just wanted to let u know but now I am waiting for the ambulance to come. He was sitting in his chair and just collapsed onto the floor." she said as her voice was shaking.
I almost couldn't form words at that moment.
"Ok, just call me when you know something." was all I could think of to say.
As I heard the hang up click on her end I walked out to my living room and began pacing, shaking, and repeating "Shit" out loud to myself until I had lost count. I was shaking my hands as if to bring new life to them. My pug was staring at me looking as if he was watching a tennis match on tv as I paced back and forth in front of him.
I heard the phone ring not 5 minutes later and I knew he was gone. I didn't want to pick up. I didn't want to know. I didn't want my dad to be dead.
"Hello" I said, this time my voice was shaking.
"He died." she said through her tears.
Apparently he died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Its hard for me to recall what happened after that but I remember telling her I was sorry and her getting snippy that I had. We were both crying and I said "I can't see him anymore.." not even knowing why the hell that came out of my mouth. She said she had to go get my half sister Marie, who is a freshman in highschool, and tell her since she just left for school before it all went down the drain.
As I hung up the phone I didn't know what to do. All I could do was cry. Cry for the loss of him but also for the loss of what could never be. For the loss of what I longed for my whole life...a father who was not a drunk when I was a child, a father who I got along with, and who made me feel loved.
As I sobbed, shook, and felt weak I thought about the time we spent together on his birthday in April. And how all the things we said were so important. I thought about how when I said goodbye to him that day I wondered if it was goodbye forever. Part of me knew it was.
It was the call I dreaded for the past year. The one I never wanted to answer. The one I would never be ready for...